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New Jersey sues ex-insurance officials


New Jersey filed suit yesterday against three dozen former executives and directors of Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co., charging them with mismanaging finances and driving the nation's 18th-largest life insurer into insolvency.

The suit seeks to hold a list of prominent business leaders responsible when they served as directors of Mutual Benefit. If successful, the suit could make the defendants personally liable for more than $1 billion in company losses. Insurance covers only $20 million of the directors' liabilities.

Among the former directors charged in the civil action were Richard M. Furlaud, the former chairman of American Express; Leon Hess, the owner of the New York Jets; Sen. Christopher S. Bond of Missouri; and E. James Ferland, the chairman of Public Service Electric & Gas, New Jersey's largest utility.

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